News / Africa

Prominent Muslim Cleric Killed in Kenya

An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
Gunmen shot and killed a prominent Muslim cleric in Mombasa — the fourth religious leader to be killed in the Kenyan city in the past two years.

Police and witnesses say Sheikh Mohamed Idris, chairman of Kenya's Council of Imams and Preachers, was fatally shot in the stomach by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles as he left his house Tuesday to attend morning prayers at a nearby mosque.

The 65-year-old cleric was at the forefront of the fight against radicalization of Muslim youths in the Kenya's coastal region, and radical youths had accused him of working with the state to suppress them.

Investigators say the moderate cleric feared for his life and had been expected to testify in a Mombasa court Wednesday after filing a case against radical youths and the committee running the city's Sakina mosque for wrongful dismissal from his duties.

He had been thrown out of the mosque late last year by angry youths armed with knives. Before that, he led prayers and gave sermons at the mosque for 35 years.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack, which follows a string of recent killings. All three Muslim leaders killed in Mombasa since 2012 were accused of having ties to al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group based in neighboring Somalia.

Kenya has troops in Somalia fighting militants who have retaliated with attacks in Kenya, most notably the assault on Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year in which more than 60 people were killed.

Religious leaders and government officials condemned Tuesday's killing and called on the security agencies to find the killers.

Mombasa City police Commissioner Nelson Marwa said an investigation is underway.

“It will be sustained until the culprits are brought to book," Marwa said. "We want to urge the leaders, we want to urge Mombasa residents and religious leaders to be calm and to give the government a chance to do its work.”

The commissioner also called for witnesses to volunteer information that can help the police to nab the assailants.

Hassan Mohamed Idris, the son of the slain cleric, told reporters that his father lived a private life for the past five months.

“As a family we told our old man it was not nice for the Muslims to fight each other because of you," he said. "Thank God he agreed to our request and went to Likoni to stay in his house and his farm. According to our younger brother he [had] seen unknown people with vehicles driving near the farm that we do not know.”

In an interview with VOA in late May, the slain cleric said young radicals were not happy with his stand that fighting in neighboring Somalia was not jihad, or holy way. He also said the youths tormented him and other officials in the streets by calling them names.

Visiting the family of the slain cleric on Tuesday, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who called himself close friend of Sheikh Idris, said it is not normal for so many murders to go unresolved, with police making no arrests.

“We are asking who is carrying out these killings," he said. "Is it a devil waking up one morning and going to fire bullet at people?”

Troubled region

Kenya's coastal region, a tourist hub where most of the country's Muslims live, has also been hit by a series of bomb attacks on churches over the past months blamed on Islamists linked to the Somali militants.

In Mombasa last April, gunmen shot and killed radical cleric Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, also known as Makaburi, near a mosque. He was accused by the United States and United Nations of recruiting fighters and raising money for al-Shabab.

Sheikh Ibrahim Ismael was killed on a road near Mombasa in October 2013. Sheik Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed in August 2012.

Human rights activists accused Kenyan security forces of killing the radical clerics — an allegation the government has strongly denied.

Previous shootings of clerics have sparked riots, and Sheikh Idris' brother, Ali Idris, urged people not to take the streets to protest.

"We are calling for calm ... we cannot carry out any revenge," Ali Idris said. "God will pay the killers."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Fortunatus F Mkesha from: Kigoma,Tanzania
June 16, 2014 2:51 AM
very very,, wonderful and painful to all people from Kenya, Africa and Warld, actually those big national should find altenatives to, know all people that sponsoring that Al-Shabab, its real painful, we need major and strong power to fight against Those killers, thanks.


by: kalimullah from: pakistan gilgit baltistan
June 10, 2014 1:21 PM
poor peopels ecnomic killing in musalim countaries is bad to 911 with all war world war
.we are daily killing in pakistan .rich man is havy if we ask pakistani govt are army these peopels high jack all pakistan man woman grils and childaran

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid